Advice Needed

A couple of weeks ago I bought the knitting patterns for Wallace and Gromit dolls on eBay from a UK seller. The patterns arrived yesterday and it turns out that I received photocopies of the original patterns, not the actual pattern leaflets. Now, had I realized they would be photocopies, I would not have bid. Partly because I wouldn’t want to violate the copyright and partly because I wanted a collectable. And I certainly would not have paid the price I did. I looked over the auction listing carefully and they are all listed as “knitting pattern”, no clue that I would be receiving copies. And technically, I did receive the pattern, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. Sure, they are full-color photocopies and were packaged nicely in clear sleeves, but they are also on very thin paper such that if I wanted to make working copies to protect my “originals”, they wouldn’t be very legible.

Now, I guess I could chalk this up to buyer-beware and live-and-learn. But I’m not quite sure what to do. I need to leave feedback. Do I leave negative feedback? I had scanned their feedback before I bought. There was a lot and it was overwhelmingly positive. The 4 neutral ratings received were non-descriptive and I note that some were for the same item I bought yet they are clearly listed as being photocopies. There are others where the recipient clearly received the original pattern (and paid less than me!).

Do I leave negative feedback? Do I report the seller to eBay for selling copies of copyrighted material? Do I threaten all of this and simply ask for a refund? What would you do?

In happier news, yesterday’s mail also brought my first shipment from the Blue Moon Rockin’ Sock Club. Included with the pattern and binder were a bumper sticker, a button, and a mini-skein of this month’s yarn. To bolster my spirits, I wound up the yarn into a ball right away. Here’s Rainforest Jasper:

The folder included a nice essay about gauge and color pooling. And pointed out that because more than 300 (!) of us will be working on the same pattern and yarn, the way the different socks turn out will be an exercise in knitting science! Loving science, I grabbed my size 1s and cast on for a gauge swatch. And I had 7.25 stitches per inch, far less than the specified gauge of 8.5 per inch. So I have to go get a size 0 needle. But the browns and golds in the mini-swatch looked like Tiger Eye, so it was really cool. Can’t wait to make the socks!

To continue the evening on a happy note, I stuffed the last bear I made for Phyl’s Bay Window Bear Drive. Making the bears was a lot of fun, and I was able to use up a bunch of small random balls in my stash. The only thing I didn’t expect, was how long it would take to sew them up and stuff them. Anyway, here’s the bear family that is going in the mail tomorrow:

They look so happy!


  1. Jocelyn:

    I think you should leave negative feedback. It sounds like the seller misrepresented what you bought. Many knitters feel as strongly as you do about copyright violation, and they shouldn’t contribute to lost revenue for the pattern writer, IMHO.

  2. Rachele:

    I would definitely leave negative feedback–mainly because of the copyright/legality issues. But also because others in the future should have some indication of what they might be getting!

  3. Manda:

    I tend to be tolerant toward copies of out of print or unavailable items, but only if it’s made obvious from the start so one can bid accordingly. Since you had no reason believe it was not the original pattern, I say totally give negative feedback! You might also want to bookmark this site for future use:


  4. Jessica:

    I would send feedback to eBay about the photocopies and leave negative feedback about the post not being specific. It’s illegal and a violation of copyright. If someone took my work and sold it as a photocopy, I would be very angry. Congratulations on your yarn arrival. Now I wish that I’d have joined, too!

  5. Lori:

    I would definitely leave negative feedback and inform ebay that someone is selling copies of copyrighted material. Given that the seller is in the UK, I don’t know that US copyright law is relevant, but still, potential buyers and ebay should know.

  6. jenny:

    i would inform ebay- a friend of mine discovered that a uk ebayer was selling one of her free patterns (see http://nepenthe.blog-city.com/infringement_and_copyright_violations.htm).

  7. zee:

    I love your little dolls! They are just too cute!

    Regarding the eBay thing, I’d leave the negative feedback and … wait… *exactly* what Lori said.

  8. Dyana:

    The exact same thing happened to me! I returned the photocopy and left negative feedback—the UK seller subtracted an excessive amount for shipping and Paypal fees and I got barely half of what I paid as a refund. I wonder if it was the same seller?!

  9. Judith:

    I would email the person and ask for an explanation, and tell them you will be leaving negative feedback as well as contacting ebay. Maybe they have no idea that what they are doing is breaking copyright - well, only maybe! UK copyright law is very similar so this would definitely be in breach in one place or the other.

    Love your bears and the whirly-gig hat!

  10. YajB:


    You contact the seller and tell them pretty much exactly how you explained it on your blog - clear, logical, no threats, no whining - because there is no need to threaten, at least at this point - assume an honest oversight/mistake/ whatever.

    But first, you have to decide whether you want a full refund (including postage), or an original copy. In this case, I believe the vendor should bear the cost of replacing the item, because the item did not match the description.

    Your dissatisfaction with the quality of the product (photocopy, thin paper) is valid, and you have a right to get what you thought you were paying for.

    Regarding copyright issues -it should be pointed out to the vendor that this is a serious issue, and that eBay takes action against copyright infringement.

    If the response is anything other than businesslike and correct, and the vendor refuses to play nice - then you give fair warning that if the matter is not resolved appropriately within a reasonable amount of time, that you will be leaving the appropriate feedback and forwarding the matter to eBay.

  11. Needles & Hooks » Blog Archive » eBay Resolution:

    […] A couple of weeks ago I posted about a problem I had with an eBay seller and asked for advice. I wanted to let you know how it went. […]

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